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Katharine Blunt, 1929-1943, 1945-1946

“Blunt in name, and blunt in manner” – third president Katharine Blunt quickly became known for her forthright, no-nonsense personality and dynamic leadership at a time when many college campuses were struggling to maintain facilities and enrollment. A noted chemist and former chair of the Home Economics department at the University of Chicago, Blunt came to Connecticut with a clear mission – to improve conditions for intellectual work at the College through the development of the physical campus.

Dubbed “the Great Builder,” Blunt made constant improvements in academic facilities and physical equipment. From 1929 to 1943, she added 14 new buildings, including Fanning Hall, Holmes Hall, Palmer Auditorium, Harkness Chapel, an expansion to Palmer Library, and seven new dormitories; established an Arboretum for research and enjoyment by the campus and town communities; and managed a balanced budget through one of the worst economic depressions the country had ever seen. Blunt retired in 1943, but returned for the 1945-1946 school year after Dorothy Schaffter left to join the Library of Congress.


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